Date Night: Port Chester Hall and Beer Garden

Tired of dinner and a movie? Here's a better option.

January 30, 2015

By Michelle Gillan Larkin, a mom and writer living in Northern Westchester.

I discovered Port Chester Hall and Beer Garden over the summer, shortly after it opened, when I was on a mission to find the perfect place for my little guy to watch trains go by, while I could sit for a bit, latte in hand. Housed in the historic Port Chester train station, this turned out to be just the ticket. Not only the restaurant itself, but the outdoor beer garden, in particular, as it offers great views, plenty of room to roam, and enough to keep parents busy, too (ahem).

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Now that winter is here, the beer garden is surrounded by roll-down walls which obscure the silver streaks my four-year old longs to see. However, there’s lots more for grown-ups, both inside and out. Which presents the age-old dilemma: Bring the kids or get a sitter?

While this is still a great spot for kids at lunchtime on the weekends, the real name of the game at Port Chester Hall and Beer Garden is big kids night out. In other words: Happy hour, date night, or double-date night because it’s got that “more the merrier” vibe about it.

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It’s a party for your palette, too, and my date night began with the locally brewed pumpkin ale and spring rolls stuffed with pastrami from the famed Carnegie Deli, sauerkraut, and gruyere. I don’t know which I savored more, those crispy little bites of heaven or the divine spicy mustard for dipping. The Kobe sliders were a close second, along with the warm giant pretzel, which is so giant it arrives hanging from something resembling a coat hook.

Like the apps, entree portions are plentiful and plenty creative—both the organic chicken and the St. Louis ribs are prepared in the establishment’s very own smoker. The chicken is tender and flavorful, and I couldn’t get enough of the sweet corn mashed potatoes. (Though I didn’t need the onion straws that were piled on top.)

The biggest mouth-waterer has got to be the bacon & chicken mac n’ cheese. Enough said. Except I should add that it’s super creamy, and delicately seasoned. Plus, it’s topped with something to remind you of those left behind at home: Goldfish. Salads, burgers, and fish tacos round out the “something for everyone” menu, and it really wouldn’t be an authentic beer hall without bratwurst, grilled and served with sauerkraut.

We sampled a few more craft beers during our dinner date—the orange blossom light being the most memorable—and, naturally, saved room for dessert, which is either prepared in-house, like the salted, crunch chocolate mousse (oh my!) or is fresh from a family bakery around the corner.

Take all this fabulous food and drink, mix in the fantastic service, moderate prices, and that truly palpable feeling of fun, and put it all in a building from 1890 (tables are crafted from old Northwest Pacific Railroad floorboards), and you have a recipe for a really interesting night out. Just don’t tell junior you’re on a date at the train station—he’ll never go to sleep for the sitter.

Port Chester Hall and Beer Garden, Port Chester Train Station, 3 Broad Street, Port Chester; 914-305-8383

One Spectacular Slurp

We found the best ramen in Westchester.

January 27, 2015

By Nancy Fann-Im, a freelance writer and editor who blogs at trippyplaces.blogspot.com.

When temperatures are hovering around the freezing mark, nothing hits the spot like a steaming bowl of savory ramen. Until recently, however, it’s been difficult to find an authentic version in Westchester. Sure, there are local Japanese restaurants that include ramen on their menus, but those attempts hardly rival the best that Manhattan has to offer.

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Then a tiny establishment called Ramen Q’s sneaked onto the dining scene, opening in the nondescript space adjacent to the Fuji Mart on White Plains Road in Scarsdale. A foodie friend in the neighborhood informed me that the ramen there was legitimate, but I was initially skeptical, having gotten my hopes up about other places too many times before.

Several visits later, I’m a complete devotee. Ramen Q’s serves up the real deal; the broth is thick and creamy, the noodles perfectly al dente, the slices of chashu pork tender and flavorful. For $9, choose between the shio (salt) or shoyu (soy sauce) ramen, and a broth based on tonkotsu (pork) or chicken. My recommendation is to go whole hog with the fatty, hearty tonkotsu shoyu ramen, but if you prefer to have your comfort food and eat healthy, too, stick with the lighter chicken broth. Tack on the combo option to get gyoza and a rice dish for a mere $3 more. My husband and I usually order two combo meals, and that’s enough to feed ourselves and our two small children. But do save some room for dessert – on display are fresh mochi, sweet buns and other goodies. My kids’ favorite is the jelly-filled bun shaped like Hello Kitty.

When I first started frequenting Ramen Q’s a few months ago, the small space would be quite empty at all hours of the day. Since then it’s become considerably more popular through word of mouth. The restaurant is a no-frills counter operation with just a handful of tables, so if you go on the weekend for lunch, expect to wait around a bit for a table to free up. Once you give those noodles a slurp, though, you’ll agree that the food is completely worth the wait.

Ramen Q’s, 816 White Plains Road, Scarsdale, 914-472-1468; closed on Mondays; last orders taken at 7 p.m. Ramen Q’s is technically cash only, but you could pay for your meal using a credit card at the attached Fuji Mart.  

Day Trip to Thunder Ridge Ski Area

Forget a weekend away. Thunder Ridge is so close you can go for the day.

January 24, 2015

By Lauren Bedford, a Westchester mom who spent her high school years teaching skiing in Maine.

I am originally from Maine, and one thing Mainers know how to do right is enjoy winter. After all, up north there is a too-short but glorious summer and then a lot of cold. And snow. That, to me, means skiing.

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Last year we started our nearly 4-year old on skis, and he absolutely loved it. His father and I were so proud (and excited that he could finally join us on the slopes) that upon returning to NY from our ski vacation we visited Thunder Ridge. It was an easy decision where to go; my husband, native to Westchester, raced in high school and skied there many times, during the day and at night. Our 9-month old daughter stayed for a couple hours at the cozy day care while we took to the mountain. She was happy when we left her and having a great time when we picked her up. I called just this week to inquire about an age minimum, but, conveniently, they do not have one.

The skiing is absolutely family-friendly. There’s even a small farm with a few animals part-way down the mountain that makes for a great rest stop. With 30 trails, four magic carpets, three lifts and snowmaking (yes!), Thunder Ridge is the ideal local mountain to spend a couple of hours or a full day enjoying time with your family while taking advantage of these chilly winter months.

On your way back home, check out the Blazer Pub in Purdys for a relaxed and tasty chili, sandwich or burger – just bring cash or an ATM card to get cash on site. It’s the perfect way to end a family ski day.

Thunder Ridge Ski Area is located at 137 Birch Hill Road in Patterson, NY, a short 35 minute drive from White Plains, and also accessible by Metro-North Ski Train (get off at the Patterson station and catch the free ski shuttle).  They rent ski equipment for all ages — skis, boots, poles and a helmet costs about $35; a full day adult lift ticket costs $50, while kids 6 and under are $12. Babysitting costs $8 per child per hour. Visit thunderridgeski.com for more details regarding hours of operation, pricing, ski lessons, day care, equipment rentals and more. They can also be reached at 845-878-4100.

Lauren Bedford is a transplant to Westchester who spent her high school years teaching skiing in Maine. Before settling in the ‘burbs with her husband and kids, she worked in publications and special events for the New York City Department of Education.

Where to Take Prenatal Yoga in Westchester

Knocked up? Take a breath. Here's where to get your stretch on.

January 20, 2015

As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately went on the hunt for a good prenatal yoga class. Not only does the deep breathing prep your body for labor, but as you grow bigger, so does your need for deep stretching. So I put together a round-up of all of the yoga studios offering great prenatal yoga classes in Westchester. While I haven’t tried them all, I have been to most of these studios and can vouch for their other yoga classes.

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Yoga Haven, Tuckahoe & Scarsdale
Jess’s prenatal yoga class, offered on Fridays at 9:30am at the Tuckahoe location, is a calming mix of inspirational quotes, deep breathing and lots of good stretch work. Many of the women in this class drive from all over the county for this one — it’s that good. Check Yoga Haven’s class schedule for additional prenatal yoga classes on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

Riverstone Yoga, Tarrytown
I’m a huge fan of Riverstone Yoga, so I was thrilled when Tori (one of my former high school classmates!) started offering a prenatal yoga class there this past fall. I haven’t had a chance to try out her class, but if it’s anything like Riverstone’s offerings, it’s tops. Offered Thursdays at 6pm, Sundays at 8:30am.

Hastings Yoga, Hastings
This small Rivertowns yoga studio offers prenatal yoga on Saturdays from 11:30am to 12:30pm with Marguerite, who is certified in Mommy and Me yoga as well. This class wins for best time of day. What pregnant woman wants to hustle out of the house before 11am on a Saturday?

Quest Yoga Arts, Mt. Kisco
Offered in six week packages (but prorated if you join late), the prenatal yoga classes at Quest are designed to strengthen & open, cultivating breath awareness and mind-body unity through modified yoga poses. They have the widest offerings, with classes offered five to six times per week. Check schedule for exact times.

Destination Maternity, White Plains
While you won’t get the fuzzy and warm vibes of a yoga studio, who wouldn’t want to take a $15 prenatal yoga class? Destination Maternity (in the Whole Foods shopping center in White Plains) offers classes in conjunction with White Plains Hospital on Mondays at 10:15am, Tuesdays at 7pm, and Saturdays at 11:15am. Classes are offered by Sinda, a Westchester-based prenatal yoga teacher who also teaches at New York Sports Club. A few other classes are offered each week by other yoga instructors.

Creation Yoga, Harrison
Located at Full Circle Family Care, Creation Yoga offers a prenatal yoga class geared toward women in their 2nd and 3rd trimester. It’s geared to helping you get through labor. A few readers have recommended Beth, who teaches this this popular yoga class. Luckily, it’s offered three times a week: Sundays at 9:30am, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6pm. Classes are $22 to drop in at any time.

Did we miss your favorite prenatal yoga program? Email us at info@weewestchester.com. 

Is It Really Just a Phase?

A reminder that whatever your child is doing now will not last forever.

January 19, 2015

A couple of friends and I were texting the other day when one mentioned a particularly stressful car ride with her almost 2-year-old. At a certain point in the drive, they hit a bad snowstorm and her daughter started screaming. Shrieking really — and it made the drive that much more stressful. Your daughter had a screaming phase, didn’t she, she texted us. How long did it last?

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Here’s the rub: My friends and I could have been talking about our kid dropping a nap, throwing an oh-so-public tantrum, or turning their nose up at anything cooked with onions (my son’s latest shenanigans). But it reminded me that when you’re parenting young children, all of these behaviors feel so BIG in the moment to all of us. They can push us to lose our patience, or worse, make us feel helpless, like whatever our kids are doing may never end.

But here’s a little Monday morning pick-me-up for all of you out there. The biting or bedwetting, the picky eating and yes, screaming, really is just a phase. Before you know it, you’ll be stressing out over yet another annoying kid behavior your child has adopted after dropping the last one. So try not to get too stuck on whatever your kid is doing at the moment. You’ll forget about it within the year.

Says another friend on the same text thread: “I was reading an article on 3-year-olds recently and was in awe over all the stuff that my kids did and how they’ve outgrown almost all of the behaviors without my even realizing it. So wild how fleeting all the ages and behaviors actually are.”

Ice Hunting At River Walk

Here's an idea for some chilly day fun.

January 16, 2015

My 4-year-old is obsessed with ice. He stops in his tracks whenever he spies icicles, crushes frozen puddles of it with his feet, chips away it on our back deck, and ultimately, collects pieces of it and stores it in the freezer. (Ugh!) I love winter walks, so on a recent sunny day I told him we were going on a ice hunt along River Walk in Tarrytown.

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As all of you in the River Towns know, the Hudson River isn’t frozen. But from your perch on River Walk, you can hunt for little ice floes floating by or chunks of it bobbing near the shoreline. The first few rows of boulders along the river’s edge have large sheets of ice clinging to them, ducks swim by in the icy water, and in some rocks on the walk, kids can spot little pieces of ice that formed inside them. In one spot along the walk, there’s a long tree trunk on its side — with an extra long row of icicles hanging from it, which is super cool. (It’s also neat for  kids who love to build to see the construction on the new Tappan Zee Bridge — there are some informational plaques that explain which machines are used for what.)

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After our walk, we popped into Tarrytown village and ordered a couple of hot dogs to go from Lubin’s and Links on Main Street. Two dogs for $5 = super cheap lunch.

Next time you feel housebound, tell the kids that you’re going ice hunting — I bet they jump for their mitten right away. If you can’t make it to River Walk, you can easily do the same hunt at Swan Lake at Rockefeller State Park in Pleasantville, Croton Gorge Waterfall, or even Muscoot Farm‘s ice pond. It’s a fun (and educational) excuse to get outside on a chilly day.

River Walk, 250 W. Main Street, Tarrytown; To get there, drive down to the Tarrytown Train Station, cross over the tracks to the Hudson Harbor development, and drive to the riverfront town homes. You’ll find a parking lot right near the entrance to River Walk. 

The 411 on Post-Baby Birth Control

Dr. Beth Simon, the new OBGYN at Scarsdale Medical Group, picks her favorite methods.

January 14, 2015

This post was brought to you by Scarsdale Medical Group.

You gave birth to your perfect newborn and have (somewhat) settled into your new “normal.” It’s time to choose a contraceptive method to make sure you’re not expecting another little one before you’re ready. Choosing a birth control method is a very individualized decision. What works well for one woman may not work for another. There are many things to consider, including the question of whether or not you’re planning to have more children, hormonal versus non-hormonal methods, and convenience, to name a few. Dr. Beth Simon from Scarsdale Medical Group breaks it down for us in layman’s terms and perhaps you’ll be as surprised as we were about the facts.

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It’s Normal To Not Want Sex At First

The only fool-proof reversible birth control method with zero side effects is abstinence, which is not necessarily a realistic option for most (at least for your spouse!). That being said, 6 weeks postpartum, if you’re not feeling like yourself and are less than excited about the notion of getting it on, you are not alone! “It’s very normal to be exhausted, overwhelmed, and uninterested in sex,” says Dr. Simon, “After all, for women the biggest sex organ is the brain, not the vagina!” Feel free to tell your spouse the doctor says you need a few more weeks (wink wink).

Once you’re ready to move things along, contraceptive options run the gamut.  ”There are so many options out there because not one is perfect. It’s about finding what works best for you,” says Dr. Simon. The most convenient and non-hormonal methods are condoms, diaphragms and the Today Sponge.  Each has pros and cons: For example, a diaphragm (which requires a measurement at your doctor’s office) must be used with spermicide and left in for 6-8 hours after sex. Not exactly pleasant. But if you are interested in a method that is not permanent, these are good options.

Stick With the Pill?

If you are open to hormonal contraceptive methods, there are several options to consider, the most common being birth control pills. Keep in mind, “combined” oral contraceptives such as Ortho-Tricyclen and Loestrin are not recommended for women who are nursing, as the estrogen may lower a woman’s milk production. “The single hormone pill, Micronor, or the ‘mini pill’ is safe to use when breastfeeding but it must be taken at the same time every day,” says Dr. Simon. “Both types of birth control pills have the same efficacy – over 99% when used correctly – but may be the last thing new mothers want to be responsible for when managing life with a newborn.”

NuvaRing is Effective But Not Always Convenient

Dr. Simon likes the NuvaRing, a small hormone-releasing vaginal ring, which is similar to the combined birth control pills and therefore not recommended for nursing mothers. The self-insertion is not a big deal but may be for the squeamish as you insert it yourself and leave it in for 3 weeks, then take it out for 1 week, each month. The next month, a new one is used. Sign up on Nuvaring.com and you can receive email alerts for insertion and removal.  Most men can feel it during sex but it doesn’t bother them.

Your guy’s particular? Take it out for an hour and the hormones will still do their job. “This is a really great option that doesn’t require daily action,” says Dr. Simon.  Keep in mind, it must be refrigerated so it may be an inconvenience for frequent travelers.

Long-acting Progestins

Lastly, other reversible options include Depo-Provera, a 3-month progesterone injection, with a potential 10 pound weight gain associated with it, and Nexplanon, a 3-year progesterone implant in your arm.

The Big Upside to IUDs

One of Dr. Simon’s favorite contraceptive methods is the Mirena IUD, an intrauterine device containing progesterone that is inserted by your doctor — and effective for 5 years. The upside? After 3 months of potentially irregular bleeding, your period is very light or disappears completely. The really big upside? The Mirena offers the quickest return to fertility. “The progesterone has no systemic side effects and does not suppress ovulation like birth control pills,” according to Simon.

Simon doesn’t recommend the non-hormonal IUD, The Paragard aka “Copper T,” because of the heavy & painful periods that usually come along with it. All IUD’s involve an insertion, which Simon recommends doing within the first 7 days of your period for the least discomfort. She also recommends taking 3-4 Advils an hour before your insertion. New to the market is Skyla, a 3rd IUD option with a smaller design intended for women who have never had a vaginal birth, or whom have had no labor and a C-section.

Surgical Options Are Forever

Tubal ligations and a newer procedure, Essure (which can be performed in a surgical suite, Scarsdale Medical Group has one!), are your non-reversible surgical methods of contraception when you are 100% sure that your family is complete. And of course, vasectomies, are the safest, least-invasive procedures for men (as they are performed under local anesthesia). Vasectomies sometimes can be reversed, however, “this is something you should consider only if you are done childbearing,” says Simon.

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Beth Simon, MD, (pictured above) and her partner, Ronald Reiss, MD, FACOG, are Scarsdale Medical Group’s OBGYN physicians along with GYN, Claudia Useda, MD. They accept many insurances and provide full OBGYN services including infertility/conception, obstetrics/pregnancy, breastfeeding consultations, ultrasound, gynecological care, well woman care and surgery. 

The provision of high-quality, personalized health care to Westchester County and New York’s Hudson Valley region has been the mission of the Scarsdale Medical Group for more than 50 years. Their working philosophy of compassion, confidence, and commitment has enabled them to become known and respected by patients and peers throughout the tri-state area.

Scarsdale Medical Group, 600 Mamaroneck Ave, Suite 301, Harrison; 124 East 84th Street, Ste 1a, New York City. (914)723-8100.

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January Happy List

Places to go, things to see and what to do this month!

January 12, 2015

The month has really gotten away from me! Between New Year’s, ping-ponging colds around our house, and the big catch-up of the post holiday blitz, I feel like I’m just settling into the month of January. Here is January’s Happy List, even if it is a little late. xo

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Every Saturday and Sunday in January, use this excuse to get outdoors on a crisp day: Take a 45 minute guided hike at the Greenburgh Nature Center. It’s great for all ages — a 7-year-old and 2-year-old could enjoy themselves. Along the way, a guide will help kids identify animal tracks, talk about which tree makes the best animal home, or what plant makes its own heat. Saturday, January 17th and 18th at 11:30am, Saturday, January 24th and 25th at 11:30am and Saturday, January 31 and February 1.

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Ciao! Bundle up your baby or toddler (ages 12 months to 3 1/2 years) and head to the Westchester Italian Cultural Center in Tuckahoe to learn Italian every Thursday morning in a Mommy and Me Italian language class.  From 10am to 11am on Thursdays or in the afternoons from 1:15 to 2:15pm, immerse your children in songs, rhymes and stories — all in Italian. Siblings under 12 months are welcome free of charge. Free!

The Hudson River Museum offers great activities every Saturday and Sunday this month as well. From 1pm to 4pm, there is either a family art project or a family science project (sometimes both, so check their calendar). On January 18th, you can sculpt your favorite animals with mixed media as part of a Fantastic Animals program; on January 17th, 24th and 31, take part in “The Hidden Surface,” a science program that helps kids learn about radar and sonar to examine hidden landscapes; they’ll make a map of what lies beneath. Sounds neat. While you’re there, take the kids to one of the age-appropriate planetarium shows. (In February, they’re having a special Big Bird-themed star show!)

With all of these icy temps, why not take the kids for a 411 on “The Importance of Ice” at Muscoot Farm on Sunday, January 18th at 1pm. You’ll meet in the ice house and learn about the life’s blood of every early dairy pond. Then hike to the ice pond. Of course, it’s always fun to check out what the animals are doing in the cold too!

Kids 4-years-old and up will appreciate Click, Clack Moo, a silly show at Emelin Theater that features typing cows, striking hens and a tech-free farm zone. Check out the show on January 24th @ 11am and 1:30pm. Tickets are $15.

Before you take the kids for the real deal, buy tickets for the Westchester Knicks, the official NBA developmental league to the New York Knicks. There are games on January 23 and 24th, but I’ll warn you that the games are at 7pm. So this is one activity better suited to older kids.

Why I Started Juicing

...and why you should too.

January 8, 2015

My brother-in-law was visiting over the holidays from San Francisco, and he’s become a bit of a fanatic of juicing. For about six months, he hasn’t had solid food for breakfast or lunch, just homemade healthy juice. Then he eats whatever he wants for dinner. Best of all, he doesn’t really feel like he’s missing anything. (Although, he did go bananas on a plate of brownies when he saw them on my counter.)

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Still, I immediately envied all of those pulverized nutrients flowing into his body. He looks the best he’s ever looked — the whites of his eyes are like snow and his skin is smooth and rosy. While my husband and I aren’t planning to juice as meal replacement entirely, we did bust out the juicer that had been gathering dust in the cabinet. Since my brother-in-law left, we’ve been juicing fresh fruits and veggies four or five times a week. Here’s what we’ve noticed: It’s made us eat healthier in general, we feel less bloated, AND the juice we’re making is so darn delicious. Best of all, our suddenly-very-picky 4-year-old loves most of the juice I put in front of him — he doesn’t even realize he’s drinking beets or carrots or kale.

Case in point: On that awful, frigid day yesterday, I made a tropical cooler with cut papaya, oranges, lemon, and carrots.  It literally transported me to the Caribbean. When we all had colds, I made us an elixir with two oranges, 1 lime, 1 mango and 2 cups of pomegranate seeds. Not sure if it helped, but it made us all feel happy to drink it. Juicing is an event, like making cookies, so everyone gets excited to taste whatever treat you concoct. It just happens to not have any processed sugar. Hooray!

I’m getting all of the recipes from a book I picked up at Anthropologie called The Juice Solution — I like it because it breaks juices up into four categories: Energizing juices, Meal-replacement juices, Detoxifying juices and Protective juices. I’m using it to pull off one of my own New Year’s resolutions: Drink more homemade juice. It may be a trend, but it’s one of those trends your body will thank you for.

And the Hottest Workout of 2015 Is…

Hint: It's super easy to fit into any mom's schedule.

January 5, 2015

In 2014, the biggest fitness trend may have been the popularity of the “super short workout,” or “workout snacks,” as the New York Times recently reported. There was the “Scientific 7 Minute Workout,” a quickie weight program using the wall and a chair to work you out, and research that reported that one 5 minute run each day could lengthen your life span. Scientists even published a study in May that claimed that three brief sessions of exercise — think: one minute of brisk walking followed by another minute of strolling, repeated six times — helped diabetes patients control their blood sugar better than a 30-minute walk.

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The American College of Sports Medicine recently reported their predictions for the hottest trends of 2015, and leading the list: Bodyweight Training. Forget the rowing machine or circuit training on the Nautilus equipment. In 2015, it’s about using only your body weight to work you out, like classic exercises like lunges, planks, pushups, and squats.(See Fitbie’s slideshow of the 27 best bodyweight moves here.)

“It’s no surprise to see body weight training claiming the top spot this year,” said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, the lead author of the survey Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2015: What’s Driving the Market. “These kinds of exercises provide the benefit of requiring little to no equipment and are incorporated into many fitness programs that are currently popular.”

Best of all, you can do any of these exercises in your living room, back deck or basement, while the kids play nearby. A fitness trend built for moms!

Merry, Merry!

December 25, 2014

Have the happiest holiday of your life this year. See you in 2015, Westchester!

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Westchester’s Best Christmas Lights Driving Tour 2014

With two new houses to check out on your holiday lights adventure.

December 22, 2014

Last year, I went in search of the lightest and brightest homes in Westchester. Pack in the car with hot chocolate, turn up the Christmas songs (I always recommend the children’s musician Laurie Berkner’s Christmas Album) and off you go. Here are five light displays that are close enough together to see in about an hour. If you’ve already taken our tour, don’t stop reading. There are two new stops worth making.

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50 Iroquois Road, Ossining
The Platt family in Ossining put themselves on the holiday lights map this year when they adorned their front and back yard with over 40,000 Christmas lights. There’s also Santa’s workshop, a light tunnel, 10 display cases to explore, and lots of other illuminated delights for the whole family. Totally worth checking out!

57 New Wilmot Road, Eastchester
Every year this house, nearly across the street from the Lord and Taylor in Eastchester, lights up its small yard with dozens of blow ups. Think: A giant Frosty the Snowman, Santa and his reindeer, Mickey Mouse, among many others. There are lights hanging from just about every piece of trim, but it’s not the grown-ups that will love this house, it’s the kids. The blow-up holiday characters will make them squeal with joy.

58 Gedney Park Road, White Plains (see above)
Just off busy Mamaroneck Road east of Bloomingdales is this sweet display of light-up carolers, dozens of toy soldiers and Mickey characters. I loved that two blinking bells played holiday music while you gawk. Yes, that’s a giant Grinch! Don’t whiz by on Mamaroneck. Be sure to park out front or even get out of your cars for a closer look. Your little ones will love the dramatic row of toy soldiers.

21 North Kensico Road, White Plains
This is my favorite holiday light display in Westchester: The classic farmhouse is decorated like a gingerbread house. Gumdrops line the roof. Large peppermint lights line the white picket fence. Lights are hung curly-cue around the window frames. Gingerbread men line the front lawn. Fake snow falls from the sky (an illusion created with lights). But I loved it mostly because a sign instructs you to put on 107.7 on your radio, and the light display blink with the beat of classic Christmas songs. When Christmas Canon came on, I could have cried. This house is true holiday spirit at its best.

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155 Vaneck Drive, New Rochelle
This house is incredibly bright and draped with thousands of lights: There are about 50 illuminated toy soldiers arranged in a pyramid on the front lawn. A larger-than-life Santa is perched on the roof near the chimney. Get out of the car and take a look at the train set driven by Snoopy, or stop by one of the life-size boxes with various Santa scenes depicted inside. We love the polar scene best, since it has a penguin riding a sled and a polar bear about to eat up a fish. It’s all hokey, but very well done.

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In the largest box, Santa is driving a digger, a cement mixer, a bull dozer — all made of peppermints. Another features Santa and his elves making toys and checking kids off their list, all with automated characters moving inside. There’s so much to see your little ones will be giddy.

If you see a house with great Christmas lights, snap a pic, send us the address and we’ll post it on our Facebook page. Email us at info@weewestchester.com.  

Baking With Kids: Rice Crispy Peppermint Bark

December 18, 2014

By Lucy Baker, who lives in Irvington with her husband and toddler son and blogs at cheatingvegan.com. When I was growing up, every year in December my mom would drive me to the candy store, where I would pick out a box of chocolates to give to my teacher on the last day of school before vacation. [...]

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Sponsored Post: Maxime & Friends has a new location in Larchmont

December 17, 2014

Maxime & Friends, a 2014 Best of Westchester Winner, is a family-owned children’s clothing and accessories boutique in Larchmont for boys and girls, ages newborn – ten. With unique brands from Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, France, Spain, the UK, US, and many other countries, Maxime & Friends offers an affordable and carefully curated selection of beautiful, [...]

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Shop Local: Westchester’s Best Toy Stores

December 16, 2014

By Jennifer Garry, who blogs at Cuddles and Chaos, and covers Northern Westchester for Wee Westchester.  I’m a huge fan of shopping small and local. Not only does it help support the community, but more often than not you find really cool, different gifts at these little shops. For some reason though, I always struggle to shop small [...]

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5 Easy and (Free!) Christmas Decor Ideas

December 14, 2014

By Nadia Fante, a Westchester-based architect, designer, blogger and founder of MaMeMima Design Studio Christmas season is officially here, which means it’s time to bring out all those boxes of Christmas decorations (if you haven’t done that already!). Every year I try to change things a bit to keep the decor fresh and updated, but I prefer [...]

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